Nov 14, 2022 - Politics

Jon Burns nominated for next Georgia state house speaker

Jon Burns hugs David Ralston

Then-Majority Leader state Rep. Jon Burns hugs then-House Speaker David Ralston in 2016. Photo: Jason Getz/AP

Georgia State Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington) has been elected by his Republican colleagues as nominee for state house speaker.

Why it matters: The speaker has tremendous power over what legislation passes in Georgia.

  • Burns — who had served as majority leader for seven years alongside outgoing Speaker David Ralston — was seen as the candidate more inclined to continue Ralston's legacy of building consensus and bipartisanship.

Driving the news: The speaker will be officially elected by the whole House in January, but the majority caucus nominee is considered the presumed choice.

  • State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), who was the architect of the state's Republican-led voting law, lost his bid for the leadership role.

Catch up quick: Burns lives on his family farm in Effingham County and has served in the state house since 2005. He was elected majority leader in 2015.

The big picture: Burns will shepherd an even-narrower Republican majority after the 2022 election: just 101 votes, down from 103 (out of 180).

What they're saying: "I don't pretend to be any more entitled to this office than anyone else in this room," Burns told his colleagues before the Monday election at the state Capitol.

  • "If I am nominated as your speaker, it will be because you trust me to keep building off of our success, keep our caucus united and keep our state moving forward."

Of note: The caucus also re-elected its current speaker pro temp, state Rep. Jan Jones, as second in command.

Meanwhile, the state Senate has a new slate of leadership, from Lieutenant Governor-elect Burt Jones to newly elected Senate President pro temp John Kennedy.

What we're watching: How new Republican leadership in both chambers of the Capitol will work together — and alongside a second-term Gov. Brian Kemp — during the new legislative session starting in January.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Atlanta stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Atlanta.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more